Fandom Friday-The Shadowhunter Chronicles

So I’ve decided to start a new segment of my blog called the Fandom Friday

This basically comes from my desire to find more fandoms…and this doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m trying to fill my life with more fandoms but I’m trying to be more open to other ones.

The biggest reason I’m doing this is because I’ve always felt like…so many fandoms preach acceptance and tolerance and equality and respect and all that. And yet…I’ve found that a lot of us nerds can be kind of judgemental on other fandoms, sick myself included. I mean, some people are REALLY judgemental and mean about it, sometimes.

And I’m trying to be better at it. And I’ve decided I want to learn more about different fandoms and kind of have people…backing up the fandom? That doesn’t sound quite right. I guess I just want people to write of the fandoms that they like and say why they like them, and what they mean to them, and maybe we can all start to understand each other.

Hey, I’m not saying that you have to like the fandoms. There are some things that we’re just not going to like. But I’m hoping that we all learn about some new ones, understand the ones we don’t like and finally figure out the ones that we don’t really understand.

So the first one is my own. I’m looking for anyone and everyone who would like to contribute to this. You can do any fandom that you’d like, except Harry Potter, Stars Wars and Doctor Who…ONLY because these are my three biggest fandoms and they are also really, really popular and I write about all three of these all the time. Any others though, free game, and leave a little comment below (make sure to click “email me for replies”) and we’ll get this going!

So this week’s first Fandom Friday is The Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare. And I know its Sunday but its been a busy weekend and we’ll just forget the days of the week just this once okay?

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Now, the reason that I pick the Shadowhunter Chronicles as my first fandom of the week, instead of Harry Potter or Star Wars or Doctor Who is that I have almost never had to really defend my obsession with these. These are VERY popular fandoms and very highly accepted fandoms and some people may shake their head at HOW obsessed I am, but I never really have to defend it as a whole.

The Shadowhunter series…those I am always, always, always defending. They are honestly a big reason why I’m trying to be more accepting of other fandoms, even the ones that I just think are plain awful. Then I realized…a lot of people have a problem with Cassie and her books. It goes both ways.

Officially right now, there are 8 Shadowhunter books in two different series. The Mortal Instruments takes place in present time and is as follow: City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and the 2014 finale, City of Heavenly Fire. The Infernal Devices is a companion series, taking place in Victorian England. This series is complete: Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess. Cassandra has three more series planned: The Dark Artifices, (Lady Midnight, Prince of Shadows and The Queen of Air and Darkness) which is a Los Angeles series taking place five years after the finale of the Mortal Instruments, TLH, which is acronymed and not named and will be following the children of the Infernal Devices series and a completely secret series, that will take place three years after the Dark Artifices series.

The books are an urban, contemporary fantasy. Its a world that we all recognize and know, but there’s more to it than we know. Demons roam our world, along with vampires, werewolves, warlocks and fae. And there are those that would protect the world from those demons, called Shadowhunters, humans with a dash of angel blood, warriors trained their entire lives to fight these demons. They have their own secret world, can shield themselves from us and have their own secret country, Idris. They use special weapons like seraph blades, blessed by angels to defeat demons, and use steles to draw “Marks” or “runes” on their body to give them extra or enhanced abilities in battle.

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The Mortal Instruments takes place in countemporary world, with Clary Fray, a sixteen year old girl who suddenly can see people and things she wasn’t able to see before. She stumbles upon some Shadowhunters while they are on the hunt, when she shouldn’t be able to see them. Shortly after, her mother is kidnapped and it is revealed that her mother is a Shadowhunter and once was married to a man named Valentine, who has a desire to “purify” the race of Shadowhunters and begin a superior order. Clary has to find her mother, and help to defeat Valentine, along with the help of her human best friend, Simon Lewis, the warlock, Magnus Bane, and her new Shadowhunter friends, Jace Wayland, Alec Lightwood and Isabelle Lightwood. The first book in the series, City of Bones, will be hitting theaters this summer, on August 23rd.

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The Infernal Devices takes place in Victorian England at near end of the 19th century. Tessa Gray, again, is a human girl, who leaves New York to join her brother, Nate in England. She is kidnapped as soon as she reaches the dock, and soon learns that she has abilities she was never aware of: shape-shifting. As long as she’s holding the personal item of a person, she can change into them, and access their memories. According to her kidnappers, she’s being prepped to become the wife of a man called the Magister, who has a use for her and her talents. She is rescued by the Shadowhunter boys, Will Herondale and Jem Carstairs and, just like Clary, is suddenly aware of a world that she wasn’t before. Her story  shows her trying to figure out what she is and why the Magister wants her, and what he has planned for her and the Shadowhunters.

I first discovered these books three years ago, in 2010. To keep a story short, my boyfriend and I had broken up, and lets just say it wasn’t a nice break up. It was kind of a messy one and a lot was going on at the time. My boyfriend and I had gone through a tough time, and broke up due to that, and a couple other reasons. I was feeling crappy at my job. I was taking five classes in college and was overwhelmed. Everything was just kind of down in the dumps and I was absolutely miserable. It SUCKS to break up with someone that you had plans for in the future. Of course, it all worked out, in the long run because we ended up back together and have been together for five years :)

But at the time, I just needed to be distracted. I didn’t want to think about all the crap that was going on; I needed distractions. I discovered Starkid during this time, and became super addicted to their Harry Potter musicals because of how much they made me laugh. And I found Cassandra Clare. I went to Borders to pick up a book, and I found City of Bones. I read it that night, and picked up City of Ashes the very next day, and picked up City of Glass the day after. Then I read Clockwork Angel. I got addicted FAST.

Now, a big part of the reason that I was addicted so fast, and that it remains one of my biggest fandoms, is because of what it did for me at that time. It really helped me. I needed to be distracted and it did just that. It kept me from being absolutely miserable. The stories are super funny, especially with Simon and Jace and their sarcasm. The pop culture references are always awesome, makes me think of Boss Joss Whedon and his pop culture references in everything that he does. Its action packed, and it has a lot of biblical and mythological aspects (though I do think she could go further with these). The world she builts is sexy and addicting and she spins a romance that I’m in love with. And Jace Wayland is a character that you just can’t get over, especially when you’re single and lonely haha.

But its also more than that. Despite what a lot of people say, I think Cassandra Clare is a great writer. I think she’s very contemporary and that’s the way I write. Not all of us are going to write like Jane Austen or whatever. Not all of us can write classically but that doesn’t mean we aren’t great writers and I think she’s a great writer. I also don’t think that she’s “stolen” all the things people believe she has. I believe she used a lot of it in her fan fiction but that was her fan fiction and let’s move on. And yes, there are allusions to different worlds from different books, but doesn’t everyone do that? There are no 100% original stories anymore. We all tell the same stories, but HOW we tell it, and the characters we have, in the places we have…that’s what makes our stories unique. Cassandra Clare pulled from J.K. Rowling who pulled from J.R.R. Tolkien who pulled from Norse mythology which…and on and on.

But sometimes, we just enjoy things that aren’t literary masterpieces. Not every book I read is going to be an excellent example of literary prowess. Sometimes I just want my not so guilty pleasure book. I enjoy these books. I love the stories and I love the characters and they’re good for me.

And I do like the ideas that Cassie brings in. She talks about fears a lot. She talks about bravery and courage and the idea of fears. Clary is afraid of loving Jace, she’s afraid of her father, she’s afraid of a lot of things. Jace is afraid of letting himself love and be loved, both in family and romantic ways and he’s afraid of Clary. Isabelle is afraid to let her tough girl guard down. Simon is afraid of losing his best friend. Luke and Jocelyn are afraid for Clary‘s safety and what Valentine is capable of. Alec is afraid of his sexuality and coming to terms with it. Valentine is afraid of not having control. And a lot of times these fears hold them back, and cause more problems than anything.

And she doesn’t preach of just overcoming your fears, but learning to accept them and learning to live with them. This is a huge reason why I have the Fearless rune tattoo on my arm. I really agree with the way she approaches fear, and courage and bravery, and overcoming and accepting fears. These people aren’t fearless, no one can be fearless but you can learn to live with your fears.

One last thing, I do like that Cassie has included gay, bisexual and lesbian characters. Alec is gay, and Magnus is bisexual and Aline and Helen are lesbian. I really like how a familiar concept can be presented in an unfamiliar territory. I do love that more and more authors are exploring these in books, not just in subtext but in more obvious ways. I love that even though Cassie gets letters from parents complaining about the LGBT characters, she continues to write about them. Its fantastic.

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So maybe you’ll never be a huge Cassandra Clare fan, or even a fan at all. But maybe you can understand and respect my own obsession with it, the way I am starting to respect YOURS!

And don’t forget, I am looking for some guest blog posts from ANYONE on their fandoms! Comment below, with what fandom you’d like to write about. It can be anything: movie, tv show, book series, video game, card game, cartoon, whatever. I want to learn ALL about it. Comment below and I’ll be able to contact you and you can be part of the Fandom Friday :)

Can’t wait!

Book of the Week: Clockwork Prince

Hello all.

Hope you are all having a WONDERFUL week this week. I definitely am. I am mostly having a good week because everything has just been so good lately. There’s been a ton of awesome TMI and TID (Cassandra Clare) news, recipe with stills released from the City of Bones movie and the newly released book trailer for Clockwork Princess, viagra dosage the final Infernal Devices novel.

I recently went to Gallifrey One, look the Doctor Who convention, which was a ton of fun. My birthday is less than a week away, and that is insanely exciting. I was finally picked for World Book Night, where I hope I get to hand out either Percy Jackson or Looking for Alaska.

In the next few weeks, new books will be released by both Lauren Oliver and Cassandra Clare, and I’ll be meeting both very soon after. I will be seeing Andrew McMahon in concert, going to Anaheim for Wonder Con and watching brand new episodes of both Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.

So much excitement.

And because one of my favorite authors, Cassandra Clare, is releasing her final installment of the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, in less than three weeks, I decided it would make a fantastic Book of the Week to do the previous book, Clockwork Prince.

So here it is.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

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Genre:
young adult, romance, contemporary fantasy

You May Like if You Liked:
The Mortal Instruments series, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Tithe by Holly Black

Plot Summary:

In Clockwork Princess, we meet Tessa Gray, a normal New York girl, coming to London to live with her brother, Nate. She ends up kidnapped and soon learns she has the power to shift herself, become an entirely different person, as long as she’s holding something of theirs. When she is rescued by Will Herondale, she is brought into the Shadowhunter world, where she learns of that world and that her brother isn’t all what it seems. She’s different, and she doesn’t fit into the normal classifications that the Shadowhunters know: demon, vampire, warlock, werewolf or fae. In fact, Tessa seems to be one of a kind. And she’s wanted, wanted desperately by a man by the name of Mortmain, going by the Magister. She is left with a ton of questions, about her life and her presents and who or what she really is. The Shadowhunters are left with a crazy mad man, equipped with strong automatons, ready to do whatever he can to take over London and to take Tessa back. She meets friends in the form of Shadowhunters Charlotte and Henry Branwell, Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs and Jessamine Lovelace, humans like Thomas, Agatha and Sophie Collins and warlocks like Magnus Bane.

In the sequel, Clockwork Prince, the Institute in London is left kind of in shambles. Two of their very loyal servants are left dead by Mortmain’s hands, Nate has been revealed as a spy and nothing seems to have been accomplished. To make matters worse, Benedict Lightwood is making a bid to take the Institute away from Charlotte Branwell and has made this demand: that she must find the Magister in a fortnight. Everyone is needed to pitch in and things are starting to be revealed: there’s another spy in the midst, Benedict Lightwood isn’t exactly what he’s made out to be…but his sons are a different story. We learn more of Will’s past and we see Jem and his sickness in a way we’ve never seen before. And we see Tessa struggle: struggle to come to terms with her brother’s hatred of her, her love for two incredible boys, and her determination to discover herself.

The Good:

Though my heart always belongs to the Mortal Instrument series, the Infernal Devices were just written better. I am a TMI fan through and through, mostly because I discovered her books when I was going through a ridiculously hard time and those books were my saving grace. I grabbed on to them and held on, and fell in love with the characters and story. I still adore these books; they’ve done for me what a lot of books haven’t. I understand they are a version of a fan fiction that Cassandra did once upon a time, and that’s a whole ‘nother story. I honestly do not get why people give Clare such a hard time. I don’t think she copied the worlds of Harry Potter and such, like people say. I love this series.

But the Infernal Devices are a series all on their own. This is a work of her own imagination and you can see that. They are written very well and the story is captivating. There is something about Victorian England that captures your attention. You can’t help but be drawn in by the gentleman and lady lifestyle, the clothes, the behaviors, and all that sort of thing but you also see the beginning of the changes, with women fighting for their rights and the working class protesting their work conditions and that sort of thing. Clare chose a good era to produce these prequels to the Mortal Instruments series.

What I liked about this book was that it bounced back and forth between the different stories that were going on in this novel. Everyone has a story, everyone has an issue. Tessa is being hunted, and for reasons she still doesn’t understand. She hasn’t even begun to understand herself quite yet. Will is searching for a cure for his deepest and darkest secret. Jem is facing his mortality and his illness head on, as well as his love for Tessa. Charlotte has a huge weight on her shoulder, to find Mortmain before she loses the Institute. Jessamine doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter; she wants a mundane life with a mundane love. The stories that are all going on at the same time weave together to make a fantastic novel.

I also like the strength of all the characters. I love that we get to see so many characters and their depth. I love that there are strong female characters, not only in just Tessa and Charlotte, but also in the servant girl, Sophie. I love that we learn more of all the characters in this book. We learn so much more of Will Herondale than we learned in the last book. I love a bad boy; I tend to go for the bad boys but Will almost seemed too bad. Jace Lightwood of the TMI series was sarcastic and biting but he wasn’t cruel. In Clockwork Prince, we learn much more of his past and why he acts this way and he won me over quickly.

I also like that Cassandra is really building up the anticipation of the ending. She gives you a second book that leaves you panting for more, if only because you want more sexy scenes like the one between Tessa and Will on the balcony. My god, I had to splash my face with cold water after that one. But you’re dying to know what happens to Jem and Will, you want to know that Charlotte and Henry’s baby is going to be okay, you want to know all about Tessa and what and who she is. You want to know what Mortmain’s grand plan is. Clare builds up suspense in the best way possible. She leaves you wanting more, wanting to know more about everything, and she spins a lovely romance in several characters. She leaves a ridiculous cliffhanger with the appearance of Will’s long lost sister, Cecily, who shows up at the Institute, wishing to be trained as a Shadowhunter.

The Bad:

I love Tessa Gray, I do. And I adore Jem Carstairs, for all his goodness, his sweetness and his maturity. And I am half mad in love with Will Herondale. But the one downturn of this book is the love triangle. I don’t like love triangles and I try to avoid books with them, but nowadays you’re hard pressed to find a book that doesn’t have one. So that kind of sucks.

One thing I can say is though, you have to kind of get over the fact that there are love triangles there as long as the story is okay without them. If you can remove the love triangle and still have a very strong story, then you’re in a good spot. While the love triangle drives me absolutely mad, there is an extremely well thought out and strong story in this novel and it makes up for it. Sure Tessa is being wooed (in very sexy ways) but she is also very focused on the problems at hand: Mortmain, his plans and his plans for her, and finding out more about herself. That is the most important thing at hand.

Also, at the end of Clockwork Prince, Tessa becomes engaged to one of the boys, which is a very strong move on her part. She has made a decision, or at least it seems so. I still feel the question of Will or Jem? will be present in the third installment but for all intents and purposes, Tessa has stood her ground and made a choice.

Rating?:

I give this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.

Recommended Or Not?

Definitely. Obviously, please please go pick up Clockwork Angel before you read this, but you won’t be disappointed. It has everything that a young adult fantasy needs: action, adventure, mystery, drama, strong male and female characters, romance, the works.

 Even if you’ve read the Mortal Instruments and weren’t a fan, I still encourage you to read this series. This series is her finest work, and I only hope that she continues to get better and better. You will not read this series and be disappointed, I can guarantee it.

The fact is, while the Mortal Instruments holds my heart, Infernal Devices is the diamond of Cassandra Clare’s writing. They are written very well and have a wonderful and new story. While people can claim that TMI is based on a fan fiction, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince stand on their own and really help Cassandra Clare to stand out as a strong author.